WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LASER AND IPL (INTENSE PULSED LIGHT)?
Lasers and intense pulsed light (that’s IPL to you and me!) use light to destroy hair follicles and prevent regrowth; however, the technology used to deliver the light is quite different, with the most significant difference being the type of light used.
Lasers deliver a specific type of light that consists of one wavelength or colour of light that travels all together in one direction in the identical manner as a laser pointer; IPL devices use a wide spectrum of wavelengths to produce a single white flash. When the device is flashed against the skin, it can produce an orange/red glow, much like the light emitted by a camera.
…AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
IPL light and laser light are both used for the removal of hair via the same mechanism:
- By passing light through the skin and into the hair shaft (laser or IPL) the melanin (pigment) within the hair shaft is absorbed.
- A dense hair shaft and follicle heat up as a result of light absorption.
- As a result of the proper amount of light energy being used, the hair follicle cells are heated to an extremely high temperature, causing the hair growth cycle to be interrupted.
- There is a chance that the effect can be permanent or temporary based on a number of factors
It is important to achieve the necessary temperature in the hair follicle before, during, and after laser or light-based hair removal in order to prevent any damage, such as blistering of the skin. The amount of light sent out to the skin is carefully controlled to achieve this critical temperature.
IN RELATION TO ACTUAL TREATMENT, WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
Treatment time: Due to lasers’ highly concentrated beam of light, lasers have a very small treatment area; on the other hand, IPL devices feature a larger treatment area thanks to their wider flash of light, so they can cover a much greater area at once, allowing quicker treatment.
Pain rating: In some cases, laser treatments can be more painful than IPL treatments due to the single, more pointed beam of light used.
Cost: In salons, laser therapy can cost a pretty penny, but IPL is often far less expensive. For this reason, laser treatment is usually much more expensive than IPL.
Longevity of results: Despite the increased price tag and level of pain from laser treatment, there is often a trade-off in that fewer top-ups are needed in between sessions. However, as a result of having any light-based hair reduction procedure, you have to keep on top of it to prevent hairs from coming back.
Safety: Laser light has the potential to be very powerful and even hazardous. For this reason, laser hair removal devices for use at home use much less power than their salon equivalents. IPL treatments offer the advantage of being much safer to use since the light is not as concentrated, so they can be performed at home with no risk of damaging the skin.
SO, WHICH IS THE BEST FIT FOR ME?
In summary, IPL can provide the same level of results as laser treatments – once the prescribed treatment regime is followed and top-up treatments are administered! You will not need to spend endless time and money at the salon when you follow your regimen, as you can complete your treatments in the convenience of your home. Who wouldn’t love it?